Groveport looks for more land to commercially develop

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By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Land in and near Groveport that could be developed is gradually being used up.

“South is the only direction readily available for development,” said Groveport Economic Development Director Jeff Green. “We’re blocked to the north, west, and east (by other municipalities).”

According to Groveport Mayor Lance Westcamp, “We need to concentrate on the businesses we have and keep them here.”

Added Groveport City Councilman Ed Dildine, “We’ll eventually come to the point where growth won’t happen any more as the area fills up. Most of our commercial growth is away from residential areas, unlike in other communities.”

Green told Groveport City Council that a feasibility study should be pursued to review the potential development of a large amount of acreage, known as “Area C,” at the city’s southern border. He said Area C, an area located along Pontius Road south of Hayes Road and extending south to the county line at London-Lancaster Road, consists of “thousands of acres,” of which 500 acres could be developed.

Green said the feasibility study of Area C could review: potential revenue that could be generated, expenses to open the sites for development, and what could be developed there. He noted it could cost $20 million just to extend a sewer line to the area.

“I know there is warehouse fatigue in the community, but the warehouses pay our bills,” said Green. “We look at economic development, but not just development for the sake of development.”

Green said any development in Area C must adhere to water and sewer agreements with the city of Columbus as well as income tax revenue sharing between Groveport, Groveport Madison Schools, and Columbus.

Dildine and Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert both noted that if Area C is eliminated from development by Groveport, there are not a lot of areas left for growth.

“We need to look at all the angles,” said Dildine, adding that if Groveport does not develop the area, other communities will come in and do it and then those communities will receive the revenue and the control about what is built there. “We have to explore all possibilities.”

Green said the warehouse vacancy rate in Groveport is less than five percent.

“The market is so hot right now,” said Green. “Developers approach us every week about coming here.”

He said, because of Groveport’s location and the area’s transportation system, companies can reach two-thirds of the United States’ population and a large part of Canada by locating in Groveport.

Green said it is a myth that companies in the warehouses leave Groveport after their 15-year property tax abatements run out.

“In my 20 years of working here in Groveport, only one company left town after their abatement expired,” said Green. “And when they did another company moved in to fill that space. It’s not easy for companies to pick up and move and to chase tax abatements in other communities. Abatements initially get them here and they stay because they like it here in Groveport.”

According to Green, there are about 5,500 jobs in the currently tax abated businesses in town and that does not include the 1,700 jobs provided by The Gap and others whose tax abatements have run out.

“After their abatement expired, The Gap built a 400,000 square foot addition to their property,” said Green.

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